We obtained thousands of quotes from over nearly a dozen providers to determine the best homeowners insurance in California for most people.
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In addition to price, we considered customer reviews and ratings, coverages, and availability.
The best rate for typical homeowners insurance coverage we found was $1,187 per year. Price, however, isn't the sole factor you should consider when shopping for home insurance. Below, see our recommendation for the best home insurance for most Californians, plus other picks if our top choice isn't right for you.
Best for most people: Allstate
Allstate is our home insurance company recommendation for most people in California. It offers the best overall balance of low rates, solid customer service and financial stability. While the insurer didn't offer the single best experience in any of these areas, we recommend that most people take all of these factors into account when selecting an insurer.
Allstate's rates were below-average statewide, with a typical price of $1,329 per year. That's $498 cheaper per year than we found among all insurers. The company also has a complaint score of 0.79, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), meaning it has fewer complaints than can be expected for a company of its size. The national median complaint score is 1.00.
In addition to home insurance, Allstate offers auto and life insurance. However, note that at the time of review, we were unable to get a home insurance quote in California online, so you may need to contact an Allstate agent to buy coverage.
Best for great customer service: Nationwide
Homeowners focused on a high-quality customer service experience should look to Nationwide. The company has a very low complaint index from the NAIC — just 0.29. This means few customers have registered complaints against the company and suggests they tend to be happy with the company's service. It also has an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A+, meaning that it has a "superior" ability to pay out claims, even in cases of poor economic climate or widespread disaster.
However, Nationwide's rates are higher than average in California. We found that an average California homeowner can expect to pay $2,003 per year from Nationwide, or an extra $176 beyond the average price we found.
Best for low insurance costs: Travelers Insurance
Homeowners looking for low rates above all else should take a look at Travelers Insurance. Its rates were the among the absolute lowest we found in California, with an average annual price of $1,199 per year. That's 34% less than the statewide average.
The company also has good but not great customer service reviews. Its NAIC complaint index was 0.87, meaning it had slightly fewer complaints than average among insurance companies nationwide. However, its score was worse than the average among the top CA insurers we looked at, so consumers who prioritize a great customer service experience above all else may want to look elsewhere.
Best for bundling: State Farm
State Farm is the most popular homeowners insurance company in California, and one reason for that is that it's a one-stop shop for home and auto insurance. The company has a solid discount for combining your home and auto insurance policies under one provider. We've found that an average State Farm customer can save around 10% on their combined home and auto policy.
As the nation's largest insurer, State Farm offers a wide array of insurance products. Besides just home and auto insurance, you can also get life, health, disability and small-business insurance. The more products you bundle, the more you're likely to save.
However, it's worth noting that State Farm's home insurance product isn't very compelling on its own. While rates were slightly below-average, the company has been the subject of a fairly high number of customer complaints to the NAIC, suggesting people tend not to be happy with the service they receive.
Best for military families: USAA
If you or a loved one is in the armed forces, USAA is the best home insurer for you. The company is well-known for its sterling customer service, and it caters to the unique circumstances of military families. For example, your homeowners' personal property coverage applies worldwide, even in war zones, and your deductible is waived on your uniform while you're on active duty.
The company also offers a wide array of financial products, not limited to insurance. This includes checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and loans; and the groups branches tend to be located near military installations, so soldiers have easy access to insurance and other financial services.
However, the company's home insurance rates are not the most competitive in California. Its annual cost of $1,945 is slightly above-average for the state, and substantially higher than we found from our most affordable option. Additionally, all of the company's services are limited to those who have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families.
Best for high-value homes: Chubb
People with high-value homes should take a look at Chubb. The company specializes in providing high levels of insurance coverage for expensive and exotic homes. In addition to very highly regarded customer service, Chubb offers coverages like extended replacement cost, which pays to repair or replace items if they cost more than their original value (such as if the cost of labor has gone up).
Chubb offers a variety of insurance policy types in addition to home, such as auto and umbrella. However, Chubb's prices tend to be much higher than competitors, so homeowners looking for low-cost home insurance should look elsewhere. Additionally, the company typically requires that you buy a certain level of home insurance, so homeowners who don't need a high level of coverage may not qualify.
The insurers with the best and worst customer service reviews in California
In searching for the best insurance company in California, you should consider price, coverage options, financial stability and customer service. Here, we've focused on customer service and compiled a list of the largest homeowners insurance companies in California and rated their customer service quality through customer complaints.
By that standard, the top-rated homeowners insurance companies in California are AIG, USAA and Chubb. The companies in California with the worst customer service are Homesite, AAA of Northern California and Integon.
We measured customer satisfaction using the complaint index collected from the NAIC. Customer complaints are weighted by market share, so the number of complaints is adjusted relative to the size of a company, with a median score of 1.0. A lower complaint index indicates that the NAIC received fewer complaints about that company than could be expected given its size.
|CA Size Rank||Company||NAIC complaint index (lower is better)||J.D. Power satisfaction score (higher is better)|
|3||AAA of Northern California||1.56||3/5|
|5||Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA)||0.91||4/5|
Cheapest home insurance companies in California
We gathered quotes for our sample home across every ZIP code in California from 10 of the most popular insurers in the state. Quotes from each company were averaged across California's 1,832 ZIP codes to find which insurance companies had the least expensive home insurance rates in California. The graph below shows the average annual costs to insure our sample home by company:
Find the Cheapest Homeowners Insurance Quotes in Your Area
The biggest California home insurance risks: Fire, earthquake and flood
From the frequent wildfires filling newspaper headlines to predictions of impending disasters to come — like the so-called big one, the state's overdue major earthquake — California homeowners are rightly concerned about how far their insurance coverage goes. Below, we explain the key dangers facing California homeowners and what they can do to make sure they're properly covered.
Fire insurance in California
Wildfire is a major threat to homes throughout California. Measured by structures destroyed, the November 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County was by far the most devastating in California history. The risk of fire is at a historic high for California's homeowners: 2018 and 2017 went down as the two most destructive wildfire seasons on record, with seven of the 10 most destructive fires in state history occurring in the last four years.
Top 10 Most Destructive California Wildfires
|Fire name||Date||Structures destroyed|
|Camp Fire||Nov 2018||18,804|
Fire damage is almost always be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, so shopping for a separate fire insurance company is usually unnecessary. However, the increased risk of wildfires in California have led a growing number of insurers to stop offering coverage in areas considered to be at a high risk of fire.
If you're unable to get a homeowners insurance quote from a typical insurer because you're located in a high-risk area, you should talk to an independent insurance agent who can help you find specialized insurance companies that provide coverage in high-risk zones.
If all else fails, you can look to the California FAIR Plan Association for fire insurance coverage. The FAIR Plan is a publicly supported program designed to provide coverage for homeowners who cannot get policies on the private market. Note that FAIR plans are often more expensive than private market home insurance, so they should be considered as a last resort.
It's also important for homeowners to be certain that their home insurance policy will cover them in the event of a total loss, meaning if a fire completely burned down their house. In the November 2018 wildfires, almost 40% of claims came from policyholders who had experienced a total loss. If homeowners pick dwelling coverage limits at or above the replacement cost of their home, meaning the cost to completely rebuild it, they will ensure they're fully covered for a worst-case scenario.
Earthquake insurance in California
In contrast to fire damage, earthquake damage generally won't be covered by homeowners insurance in California. The uninsured rate in the Golden State is high: Only 13% of homeowners in the state have earthquake insurance. And the risk is greater for those who live closer to a fault line, where earthquake damage can be more extreme.
Compared to mandatory homeowners coverage, earthquake insurance is unpopular for several reasons. First, it's not required by mortgage lenders as a condition of your home loan. Second, earthquake insurance can carry premiums that are equal to or greater than the average cost for a regular home insurance policy.
Homeowners can purchase earthquake insurance through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), which sells publicly supported earthquake policies, or through private earthquake insurance companies. There are a few requirements to get CEA earthquake coverage:
- You must already have a residential property insurance policy (homeowners, renters or condo insurance)
- If your current residential insurance provider participates in the CEA, then you must get your CEA earthquake insurance from that same provider
Flood and mudslide insurance in California
Homeowners insurance policies in California, like anywhere else, will not cover flood damage. Though California is a coastal state, most flooding damage to the state is due to rainfall, not the ocean, so homeowners closer to rivers are at the highest risk. Homeowners looking for flood insurance in California can obtain it from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is sponsored by the federal government, or a private flood insurance company, which has the potential to offer cheaper rates and higher coverage limits.
Mudslides, a potentially devastating peril in California, are an interesting example of what can or can't be covered by homeowners insurance. Mudslide damage is typically not covered by homeowners insurance. However, if the mudslide can ultimately but homeowners may be covered if the mudslide was caused by a covered event.
For example, wildfires in the hillsides of Montecito caused an extreme mudslide in January 2018. The fires destroyed vegetation in the area, making it more susceptible to debris flows. Since fires are covered by homeowners insurance, and the mudslide was ultimately attributed to the fires, insurance companies largely agreed to cover the damage.
In fact, this precedent was made law with a bill enacted by the California legislature late in 2018, which mandated that insurers would be liable to its policyholders for damage to a home if the initial cause of an event — in this case, a fire — is covered in their policies. The Montecito incident illustrates why California homeowners should be aware of the complexities of what their homeowners insurance policies will and will not cover.
Cost of insurance by city in California
If you're interested in how much homeowners insurance costs in your city, take a look at the table below. Here, we've calculated the average cost of home insurance in the 65 cities in California with populations over 100,000. For broader context, you can also look at our nationwide comparison of home insurance costs.
|City||Average cost||% Difference from average|
For our survey, we collected homeowners insurance quotes for properties in every ZIP code in California. Our sample property was built in the year 1979 and measured 2,100 square feet. The home was insured to the current median cost of a home in California, $509,400. Quotes for this home were obtained from 10 of the largest home insurance companies in California: State Farm, Farmers, AAA of Northern California, Motor Club (AAA) of Southern California, Allstate, USAA, Mercury, Nationwide, Travelers and Chubb insurance companies. (We excluded Liberty Mutual, the fourth-most popular home insurer, from our analysis due to technical limitations.) The rates were then averaged to arrive at an average value for each ZIP code.
For our city-specific analysis, we chose one representative sample ZIP for each city for the 66 cities in California with a population over 100,000.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.